~Something Good Can Work~
The only thing I’ve ever wanted in life is to fit in. Yep, it’s pretty cliche, but my life is full of those, so that’s not important. But, I’ve always been the odd one out. My town is pretty boring and suburban; nothing special happens here. Everything stays the same. ‘Precise and consistent’ is our town motto. No, not really, but it should be. So, I’ve gone to school with the same kids since preschool. Now, I’m in the ninth grade and nothing has ever changed. Everyone in my town knows each other, and it’s extremely irksome that nothing ever really happens here.
I’m here at lunch eating an apple and reading a book. Yes, another cliche. But no, it’s not Shakespeare, actually. I’m reading my favorite manga, Fruits Basket. But, it’s not as easy when there’s four idiots being as obnoxious as teenage high school boys can get, always attempting to bully everyone in their sight. .
But, the only reason they’re ever successful is only because of their stupid ringleader: Logan Simon Underwood. He doesn’t like his middle name, though. It’s mainly because his initials sound like a college university: ‘LSU’. But, Logan Underwood is the biggest jerk that has ever walked this planet. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. He enjoys others’ pain just for the fun of it, whether he’s the one inflicting it or not.
I sighed to myself, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, and pushed my glasses by up the bridge of my nose. Here’s your next thought: I’m a nerd. No. Definitely not. I’m just near-sighted. Besides, my glasses are cool. My mom calls them ‘Clark Kent’ glasses, but she’ll never understand why I like them so much, because not even I understand why.
I’m putting forth an effort to read Fruits Basket. But I can’t. Not when Logan and his hooligans are attempting to torment someone else, yet again. This kid’s name is William Grimm. He’s not the most popular, but he’s not a loser or anything. He’s just sort of quiet at times. I’ve talked to him once or twice, but that’s it. He likes to keep mainly to himself, as do I. His hair is scruffy and is always in his eyes. He usually has his head downward, because he’s always drawing in that sketchbook. He never lets anyone see it, let alone touch it. They call him ‘Grim’, because they also think he’s some dark, emo kid. But he’s not. He’s just as normal as I am.
“Watcha got there, Grim?” Logan asked with his hands in his pockets, his hazel eyes never leaving the leather-bound sketchbook.
“Nothing that concerns you, Simon,” he said in a bored, deep voice.
I noticed that Logan’s face tense slightly. “Give me the book, Grim,” he said, obviously trying to stay calm.
“No,” William said casually, never looking up.
Logan pulled his fist from his pocket so fast it was almost impossible to realize what was happening. William, however, did realize what was going on.
He caught Logan’s first, and stood up quickly, and they were now face-to-face.
This was bad, really bad. I’ve never known William to be a fighter, but what do I know? I know this: Logan would beat William into a bloody pulp if they weren’t an even match. If they were (which I think is practically impossible), then Logan would sick his hooligans on William.
I don’t know how or why, but Logan is always ready to fight, even kill, maybe. He doesn’t seem strong, but he is. He’s not too buff, but buff enough. He was tall, but then again, everybody was taller than me, so once again; what do I know?
For just a second, I saw his hazel eyes scan around the recreational lunch area. I looked around nervously, as well. Everything was normal; the sun was sending its warm rays down upon us. A soft spring breeze blew against my face.
I finally just gave up, putting down my volume of Fruits Basket on the table frustratedly. Suddenly I felt them. Logan’s eyes were watching me. I slowly took my eyes from the volume 2 cover, and they slowly met Logan’s.
Another breeze flowed, and blew his brown hair in all directions. “McEpster,” he muttered to himself.
“What?” I muttered, setting down my apple core, with my mouth full of a large apple chunk.
“You go here?” He asked, looking at me more intently.
“We’ve gone to the same school since the first grade,” I said, looking at him with wide eyes. “Did you forget?” I asked innocently.
“I guess,” he shrugged, turning back around to face William.
I’ve never felt more invisible in my life. Honestly, how does he get off just forgetting me all of a sudden? Oh, he won’t forget. That damned obnoxious jerk. He was obviously about to continue his attempt at bullying William, which I obviously wasn’t going to let happen, because Will was a nice kid.
My eyes flickered down to the apple core on the table, and I picked it up. I tossed the little apple core in my hand a few times, wondering what I could do to stop him from beating up Will. That’s when I decided to throw my apple core at Logan’s head.
I threw it as fast and as hard as I could at Logan’s heard. Target hit. I smiled in satisfaction as Logan looked down at the apple core, and slowly turned around to face me with accusing eyes.
“You’ve got some nerve--” he began, but he never finished his sentence.
Because that’s when it happened. A high-pitched scream pierced my ears, it was never-ending agony. My head felt like it was about to explode; that’d be better than what I was experiencing now. I fell out of my seat from the table onto the concrete, landing on my knees with my hands over my ears. It was terrible. This was torture. I wanted to die from the aching pain that my ears were feeling. Suddenly, without any warning, the screaming stopped.
I opened my eyes that were filled with tears, which I quickly wiped away. I didn’t even realize how heavily I was breathing because I was holding my breath when that high-pitched sound attacked my eardrums. I wasn’t the only one who heard the scream. Pretty much everyone was standing up from the ground with their hands over their ears, now removing them.
“What the hell was that?” Logan demanded, scanning the area.
“Oh, no, man,” One of Logan’s hooligans said, who’s name was Joe, I’m sure. He was putting his finger tips to his ear and observing them, looking at the blood that was seeping out of his ear.
“You oughta get that checked out or something,” Logan muttered with a careless tone.
“Where’s all the teachers?” I asked suddenly, scanning all around the school yard.
“They probably went inside,” Logan said passively. “Don’t be such a girl, McEpster.”
“All of the teachers are go--,” I began, when a green light, brushed past me, barely missing my right shoulder, hitting Joe square in the chest. He fell limply to the concrete, with his eyes glazed over staring into space. “I think he’s--he’s dead...” I said in shock.
Then, another green light brushed past me again, I suddenly realized that there were now dozens of green lights striking against us. They were coming from these hooded figures that were emerging from the woods on the far side of the black top. They had masks, and wooden sticks in their hands. It was as though all of this was happening in slow motion, because one of these hooded figures pointed their stick at me, and a jet of green light flew at me, as well. Except, it was extremely slow. Much slower than the green light that hit Joe.
The weird thing was, I’ve seen this before. Only it was a dream. I’d have to do what I did in the dream. That’s all this was.
I didn’t waste any time stepping aside to avoid making any physical contact with the light. Soon there were flashes of red, and little kids and teenagers were screaming and shrieking in pain. Only it sounded so real. There weren’t screams like this in my dreams. I was praying and hoping in my head that this was all a dream. Right? This is all it could be. Just a dream. More like a nightmare. Just a really scary nightmare. Like the ones I’ve had before. Only more real.
I pinched myself on my arm, but I didn’t wake up. Why didn’t I wake up?!
“Because this isn’t a dream,” I said to myself. “This is real; this is actually happening.”
I knew what I had to do: Run. Who knew why all of this was happening? Who knows what was going on? All I knew is that no one here was safe. I ran as fast as I could, avoiding as many of these hooded figures the best I could. That was, until I tripped over a dead body. I hurriedly stood up, and there was AIyssa, a girl in my grade. Her green eyes were glazed over, and her olive skin was extremely pale. I screamed a little. No, I screamed a lot. But, I didn’t let it go to my head. I couldn’t let all of this go to my head; I had to keep running, or else I’d die like everyone else who decided to run in circles, expecting someone to save the day.
I pushed myself through crowds, trying to get to the safest, and most secure place I could actually find. The only place I could think of was my house, which his hidden away on the far side of town. I could get there, if I was just fast and invisible. Though, the invisible part wouldn’t be a problem for me.
It seemed as though there were more and more of these hooded figures emerging from thick, dark clouds of smoke. I had to keep running.
Every building surrounding all of us was up in flames; smoke filled my lungs, and my clothes were becoming covered in soot.
There was no time for helping others, no matter how desperately I wanted to. This was every boy or girl for themselves. Right now I just want to get out of here.
I found myself running through the playground of the elementary school, running through the jungle gym to make myself a harder target to approach. I ran for a straight shot off of the playground behind the building where there was a hidden alleyway, where I could hide for a while until all of this settled down (if it ever did). I turned around to check and see if anyone was following me, but no pursuers.
I backed away slowly into the alley, where it was slightly cooler because of the shade. I was breathing heavily, trying to calm myself down by taking deep, slow breaths. There was no way I was going to be able to survive by having a panic attack. As far as I know, I could be seeing a lot more people dying, so I’d better get used to it.
I wiped my sweaty forehead off with the back of my hand, and taking of my sooty jacket. I abandoned it on the ground, adjusting the tank-top I had on. I leaned against the brick wall, sighing to myself. I coughed and gagged for air, surprisingly, it was fresh here. I had to figure out how to go about this situation. I couldn’t hide here forever. I was going to have to leave and go back out there at one point.
I thought I heard footsteps approaching the alley. I squinted my eyes to scan the surrounding area, and decided to go further into the alley.
I made my way into a side-alley that led off of the one I was originally in. I was backing up slowly into the alley, careful not to make much sound. I finally thought I was safe, and placed my arms at my side, sighing to myself.
I chose the wrong time to relax.
I heard the footsteps approach too late, except they weren’t coming from the front of the alleyway, they were coming from behind me. I couldn’t react fast enough. I felt a large hand cover my mouth.
“Don’t make a sound,” I heard Logan’s voice say in a low, dark tone into my left ear. “Don’t move, either,” he said in a hushed tone.
I turned my head slightly to look at him; his hazel eyes were focused and determined. His face was covered with thick layers of soot and dirt, making his freckles barely visible, and I noticed that he had a thin cut just below his right eye.
“I think they’re gone,” he muttered, removing his hand from my mouth. He looked all around, checking for any signs of the hooded figures, but they were all gone. I turned my attention back to Logan. He wasn’t facing me, he was facing the part of the alley that he’d just came from. I was about to walk toward him, when I noticed that he had a large machine gun on his back.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, feeling fear take me over.
“I’ve always had it,” he replied casually, he turned back to face me. He studied me for a second, before walking over to me, and studying my face even closer. The next thing he did was snatch my glasses from my face and snapped them in half. He threw them to the ground, and smashed them with his foot.
“What did you do that for!” I said angrily, almost on the verge of tears. “Those were prescription!”
“You’ll get over it,” he muttered. “But, honestly, I never really liked those glasses much,” he shrugged. I let a few tears slip from my eyes, because I loved those glasses so much. Logan gave me an irritable look, “Stop crying,” he said. I tried, but the tears wouldn’t stop. Logan got angry and bit the inside of his cheek. He grabbed me by the arms, and pushed me against the brick wall with his hazel eyes now turning a dark brown. “Shut it, now,” he hissed in my face. “You’ll never get anywhere in life crying, so I suggest you shut up before I do it for you.”
I gulped deeply, and stared at him with wide eyes.
“Now listen,” he said more calmly, letting go of my arms. “You’re going to stick with me from now on, or I could just kill you now,” he said, looking at the watch on his wrist. “Whichever you prefer,” he muttered, walking off down the alley.
“Uh, alright,” I muttered, following after him.. Obviously, I didn’t want to die. “Where are your friends?” I asked quietly.
“What friends?” He asked, giving me a confused look.
I raised my eyebrow, “Uh...the guys who follow you around everywhere?” I asked, “You know, the ones who do your work when you don’t feel like doing it yourself?”
“Oh, them,” he murmured under his breath. “I wouldn’t call them ‘friends’,” he shrugged. “But, who knows?” He said, shrugging his shoulders once again.
“Right,” I muttered, giving him a suspicious look. I shoved my hands in my jean pockets as I followed behind him. “So...where’d you get that big gun?” I asked curiously, studying the gun that was strapped to his back. “Heh...” I couldn’t help but make an awkward situation even more awkward.
“Do you have to ask so many questions?” He asked casually.
“Well, I’d like to know what’s going on,” I murmured.
“The town was obviously attacked by the Wizards,” he sighed, as though it was obvious. We finally made our way back onto the school grounds. The smell of smoke filled my lungs, but not as strongly as before. There were corpses...everywhere. You could still see fear in their glazed eyes.
I bit my lip, holding in the tears because I didn’t want Logan to slam me into another wall.Or worse. I decided not to look at all of the kids that I’ve known my entire life. Logan didn’t even seem bothered by the fact that he was surrounded by corpses.
“‘The Wizards?” I asked, hoping he was joking. Logan’s pace became slower, and he eventually stopped walking to turn and look at me. “I’m not following you here...heh...” The school buildings were smoking from the fires that those hooded figures had set. This was no dream.
“Wizards? Witches? Magic.” He said, still making me feel belittled. “That’s what happened.”
I blinked. “You’re kidding, right?” I asked exasperatedly.
“Did they look like they were kidding?” He snapped at me. His hazel eyes burned holes through me, which actually caught me off guard. Though, I wasn’t surprised by his sudden change in mood.
“Well, no...” I muttered. He immediately picked up his pace, and continued walking over the corpses sprawled all over the place. I immediately followed, going straight by his side. “So, you’re telling me that witches and stuff like that actually...exist?”
“Well, it would seem that way,” he said sarcastically looking around at the ruins surrounding us.
“How do you know?” I asked, trying to be as un-annoying as I could possibly be.
“Because my father was one,” he sighed, turning to look at me.
“Oh,” I said simply. “Does that make you one?”
“No, it doesn’t,” he hissed, not even bothering to look at me this time. But, I could see the fire building in his eyes.
“Oh,” I murmured as we began walking down the streets into the ruins that were once Brangold, California. “One more question,” I said quietly.
Logan sighed, regretting to know what the question was that I was about to ask. “What?”
“Where are we going?”
“To where I live,” he replied.
“Okay...” I said, biting my lip, and flickering my eyes back over to him. “One more question,” I murmured.
“What, Mona?” He groaned.
“Where do you live?”
“In the woods,” he replied casually, shrugging his slightly broad shoulders.
A/N: Fruits Basket was written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya.